Lao New Year celebrations may be scaled back across the country this year, although some events could still take place if the coronavirus situation improves, according to a source at the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
It is too early to say whether the Lao New Year celebrations would be canceled, and people can celebrate the annual festival as usual if the situation improves, the source told Vientiane Times.
Such a remark came after the ministry issued a notice to request provincial culture and tourism departments and relevant bodies nationwide the postponement of festivals and events, such as weddings in an effort to minimize the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism Department, for instance, will hold a meeting with the Mayor of Vientiane and higher authorities next week to discuss the possible cancelation of some state-sponsored and other important events, including riverside sports contests and the Miss Vientiane contest.
The city authorities plan to provide further details on these events after their meeting.
Vang Vieng authorities announced that the only public Lao New Year activities that will be permitted will be the washing of Buddha images at temples.
Vientiane Times quoted the governor of Vang Vieng district, Mr. Bounchan Malavong, as saying that concerts at popular tourist sites, the Buddha image procession, the Miss Lao New Year (Nang Sangkhan) contest and other public events would be canceled.
In Luang Prabang, the authorities plan to scale back its traditional Lao New Year festivities.
The provincial capital will hold only the most important traditional events and will limit activities deemed nonessential such as concerts, exhibitions, and other large public gatherings.
In particular, this year’s celebrations will comprise of traditional activities such as washing Buddha images at temples with perfumed water.